Dr Emily Gaynor Dick-Forde Appointed Acting Deputy Principal of The UWI Open Campus

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Open Campus is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Emily Gaynor Dick-Forde as Deputy Principal (Acting) effective August 1, 2021.

Dr Dick-Forde has served in The UWI for over 28 years. She commenced her career as an Accounting Academic at the Cave Hill Campus in 1991 in the Department of Management Studies after attaining a BSc in Accounting from the Cave Hill Campus with First Class Honours and an MPhil in Finance from the University of Cambridge England, on full scholarship from the Cambridge Commonwealth Fellowship. She also read for her PhD in Accounting (Social and Environmental Accounting) at the University of Dundee Scotland, with full scholarships from the Dundee University International Students’ Scholarship for year one and an Association of Commonwealth Universities Scholarship for the remaining two years. While completing her doctoral dissertation, Dr Dick-Forde pursued the Certified Management Accounting certification with CMA Canada. This was fully funded by The Society of Management Accountants of Canada as a part of their support for professional development for accounting academics at the Cave Hill Campus. She also earned Fellowship status with CPA Canada in 2014.

Over her 17 years at The UWI Cave Hill Campus, she served as an Acting Head of Department and Deputy Head of Department and led the first self-assessment report for the programme review of the BSc Accounting degree. She also served as Assistant Chief Examiner for CAPE Accounting with the Caribbean Examinations Council and as Deputy Dean Distance and Outreach for three years under the Deanship of Sir Frank Alleyne from 2000-2003. As a Lecturer in Accounting, Dr Dick-Forde was also given responsibility for oversight of the various distance, outreach and challenge programmes across the OECS, travelling to Antigua, St Lucia and Montserrat on several occasions to support students as they prepared for their examinations. A major accomplishment that Dr Dick-Forde recalls was working alongside Sir Frank Alleyne and Dr Farley Brathwaite as part of a three-person team, and undertaking a fact-finding tour in the USA as a key part of research which led to the development of the very successful MSc Project Management degree at the Cave Hill Campus.

Dr Dick-Forde resigned from the Cave Hill Campus at the end of 2007 after she was asked to serve in the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago by then Prime Minister, the Hon. Patrick Manning.

From November 2007 to May 2010, she served as Government Senator and Minister of Planning, Housing and the Environment. In this portfolio, under her strategic direction, the Government advanced efforts to integrate the distinct areas of the portfolio for synergy and improved planning for climate resilience. She also served as T&T’s Governor on the Boards of both the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). In addition to spearheading several notable and critical sustainable development and climate related initiatives, she obtained Cabinet’s approval for Trinidad and Tobago’s first Climate Change Policy and Carbon Reduction Strategy. In her ministerial capacity, supporting Trinidad and Tobago’s hosting of the Fifth Summit of the Americas and the Commonwealth Heads of Government conference (CHOGM), Dr Dick-Forde was an expert panelist at the Commonwealth Business Forum (CHOGM) speaking on business and the environment and sustainable development. Her technical expertise was also recognised in her representation of T&T at the Fifteenth Session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2009. These diplomatic opportunities contributed to her further evolution and informed a strong Caribbean-wide focus in her subsequent work to address sustainable development and climate resilience in the region.

In September 2010 Dr Dick-Forde resumed her service to the region at The UWI when she joined the Open Campus as Head Special Projects. Her ability to effectively organize and lead teams through complex interventions, was demonstrated at the critical moment of increased programme design under the Canadian-funded Strengthening Distance Education in the Caribbean (SDEC) project. She and a small team of Programme Coordinators, working with over 35 subject matter experts, led the design and planning for 21 new and 2 revised programmes to add to the Open Campus’ online offerings. As Head of the Programme Planning Department, she led the first quality assurance review for online programmes and the development of a framework and capacity building for these reviews in the Academic Programming and Delivery Division (APAD). Dr Dick-Forde’s formulation of advisory committees further supported the APAD by ensuring programme relevance even while addressing initial considerations on Continuing Education Units (CEU) for continuing and professional education courses. Her passion for research and fostering a community of researchers led to the establishment of the Research Forum in the Programme Planning Department. Since joining the Open Campus, she has presented papers and delivered distinguished lectures in collaboration with our country Sites in Belize (2010), Anguilla (2016), Belize Chamber of Commerce (2017), Dominica (2017) and St Kitts (2018).

From 2017 to 2021 Emily was assigned to the Office of the Principal as Manager Special Initiatives and Chair of the Open Campus Research Ethics Committee. In this role she supported the work of The UWI’s thrust for climate action, with particular focus on online delivery of knowledge products and partnerships with regional and international stakeholders on sustainable development and climate resilience building in the Caribbean. One such partnership with academics from University of Tromso resulted in two publications. Ongoing work with climate change experts from across The UWI, under the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, supports the nascent Global Institute for Climate Smart and Resilience Development (GICSRD) affording the Open Campus a place on the Management Committee of this soon-to-be-launched institute. She contributed to the stakeholder engagements/consultation for The UWI Climate Justice Strategy and commented on the recently circulated first draft.

Dr Dick-Forde stated, “After 28 years of service to The UWI, I feel blessed to be invited at this time to support Principal Severin as he serves as Interim Principal at this critical moment for The UWI Open Campus for the academic year 2021/2022.”

She further shared the following quote which she believes captures her focus, as she serves the students and staff of the Open Campus and the wider UWI:

Accepting the leadership challenge requires practice, reflection, humility, and commitment to making a difference.” Kouzes, James M.; Posner, Barry Z. The Leadership Challenge.

The UWI Open Campus congratulates Dr Dick-Forde on her achievements and wish her success in this new role. Dr Francis O. Severin, Interim Principal of the Open Campus affirms that, “Dr Dick-Forde and I are already diligently working, with the full support of the Campus’ senior leaders, to construct a solid foundation as we advance inexorably towards the Global Campus. We fittingly understand this as our mandate, which we hold sacrosanct. In light of the foregoing, I am indeed gratified that we have the support, energy, wisdom, frankness, integrity and tenacity that Dr Dick-Forde brings to the post of Deputy Principal. I warmly congratulate her and I know that this appointment is for her, simply another opportunity to serve her alma mater, which she truly loves.”